Your objective in business is to be noticed, remembered, trusted and preferred. This is a message I first heard from Donald Cooper when interviewing him well over 20 years ago. And it’s a great one that hasn’t in any way lost its impact with the passage of time.
A recent article from Donald focusses on the third of these steps. And it demonstrates how, when you use it, this meshes with the other three to ensure you stand out in a crowded marketplace. Here is an abbreviated taster with a link to the full 5-page article complete with 12 examples of how a business can stand out when trust is a core value.
An article by Donald Cooper:
The Canadian Government is currently investigating whether Sears Canada and Hudson’s Bay, Canada’s 2 biggest department-store retailers, “made materially false or misleading representations to the public” by advertising bogus discounts on their mattresses.
This is simply a reminder that way too many businesses are making false claims to mislead or manipulate customers with lies or half-truths, or making promises they can’t keep. The list is endless. False advertising, fake discounts, marking up to mark down, bait and switch, hidden charges and delivery dates that they know they can’t meet.
And then, of course, there are those wonderful Extended Warranties. You know, those pieces of paper that appliance and electronics retailers purchase for $15 and then con us into buying for $129.95.
And there’s ‘marking up to mark down’, the process of putting a fake high price on something to then put it ‘on sale’. Joseph A. Bank menswear runs expensive TV ads offering “Buy one suit and get 3 free!”. Nobody can stay in business being on sale at 40% to 80% off three weeks out of four. You know it...and I know it. So they mark up to mark down and when this year’s lies aren’t big enough to grab people’s attention, they have to tell even bigger lies next year. The ‘race to the bottom’ is also a race to see who can get away with the biggest, boldest deception.
My advice is, “Stop it...stop it all.”
You can’t build a business on lies, half truths, broken trust or unkept promises. It doesn’t take the Federal Government going after you to ruin your reputation and your brand. It could be just a few unhappy customers on social media telling 1,000s of ‘friends’ that you can’t be trusted.
Here are 4 clear steps to getting it right:
- Define yourself by how you help your target customers…not by what you sell. People are tired of being sold and they want to be helped. Ultimately, you’ll sell more by helping more.
- Make a list of all the help they might need in any way related to wisely choosing or effectively using what you sell.
- Now get creative and determine what extraordinary things you will do to deliver some of that help, better than your competitors. Become the ‘caring coach’, the trusted and respected authority in your market. Then, determine how you will effectively and honestly communicate your compelling value and your integrity. There’s no point in being the best if you’re also the best kept secret.
- This whole process takes three things...integrity, creativity and courage. We hear lots of talk about creativity and innovation in business today, but we hear very little conversation about courage. There’s no point in being creative if you lack courage because you’ll never have the guts to implement the neat creative ideas that you come up with. So, in both business and life, creativity and courage walk hand in hand. One is useless without the other.
To read Donald Cooper’s full 5-page article, and get inspired about what you can do, click on DC article You can't build a business on broken trust.